Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, April 22, 2013
Legislative Actions and Information

JEFFERSON CITY — As the ticker counts down to the end of session, legislation is moving at a rapid pace. Last week, three pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed received public hearings in various Senate committees, as well as one measure voted out of a House committee.

Senator Nasheed’s Senate Bill 125 was voted out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee last week with a passing vote of 13-10. The legislation will now be sent to the House Rules Committee for its consideration.

Senator Nasheed’s Senate Bill 347 was heard before the Senate Progress and Development Committee on April 16. This bill would decriminalize the nonpayment of child support, changing the law from its current status of non-payment being either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D felony (if the arrearage is for 12 months) to being an infraction payable as a fine. Several African-American men testified at the hearing as to the hardship imposed upon them and their children by having felony convictions on their records for nonpayment of child support, as they pointed out the dilemma they face in seeking to be supportive fathers, though prevented from obtaining a job because of the felony conviction on their record.

Senator Nasheed’s Senate Bill 387 is designed to promote Missouri as a setting for the film and TV industry through allowing for tax credits to film and TV producers. This tax credit was used to enable the filming of such movies as “Up in the Air,” and the hit reality TV program “Sweetie Pies,” which is based on the happenings at a soul food restaurant located in the City of St. Louis. SB 387 would modify Missouri’s current film production tax credit by reducing its cap of $4.5 million per calendar year to $3.5 million beginning in 2014. It would also extend the sunset on the tax credit program from Nov. 28, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2018. This measure received a hearing on April 17 during a meeting of the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee.

Senator Nasheed’s Senate Bill 131, which calls for an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, received a hearing last week before the Senate’s Veterans’ Affairs and Health Committee. This legislation would cause over 300,000 Missourians who are currently without health care insurance - mostly children - to be covered. In other words, Sen. Nasheed’s legislation will ensure that every Missourian has access to health care. After noting to the committee the huge positive economic impact Medicaid expansion would have in Missouri, Sen. Nasheed presented witnesses who provided moving personal stories about the need and importance of health care coverage for all Missourians. One witness concluded his testimony by passionately requesting the committee members provide to all Missouri citizens the kind of health care insurance the committee members have, which, the witness pointed out, is paid for by taxpayers. Unlike the defeat of another bill for Medicaid expansion several weeks ago, no vote on SB 131 was taken by the committee. Thus, there remains a chance for SB 131 to be voted out of committee for possible debate on the Senate floor.

For more information on any of these or any of Sen. Nasheed’s sponsored measures, or committees on which she sits, please visit her official Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/nasheed.

Also last week, the Senate gave final approval to a number of bills sponsored or co-sponsored by members of the Senate minority party, including Senate Bill 251, co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City. SB 251 prohibits recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at any adult-oriented business, such as liquor stores or casinos, or for anything that is not in the best interest of the child or household.

“I don’t want people who truly have a financial need to have any obstacles in getting the assistance they require,” Sen. Chappelle-Nadal said. “I want them to get help, and this bill will ensure these dollars are used for household necessities – not for gambling or liquor.”

Members of the Senate minority successfully amended legislation which modifies the Safe Place for Newborns Act. Senate Bill 256 increases the time from five to 45 days that a parent may leave a child in the custody of a medical staff member, provider or volunteer, a firefighter or EMT or a law enforcement officer without fear of prosecution. Under the bill, a child may also be left with a maternity home or pregnancy resource center.

Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, added an amendment to SB 256 which provides that once the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children has adopted the policy required of it under current law, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will implement the provisions of that policy.  

Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, successfully added provisions of her Senate Bill 421 as an amendment to SB 256. Sen. Walsh’s measure requires the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to develop an informational brochure relating to meningococcal disease and to post that information on the DHSS website. The department must notify each school district and charter school of the brochure's availability, and school districts and charter schools must provide a copy of the brochure to parents.

The act also requires any student attending a public institution of higher education living in on-campus housing to receive the meningococcal vaccine unless he or she has a medical or religious exemption.

Sen. Chappelle-Nadal also amended SB 256 to authorize a community children's services fund to provide money for preventative services for children designed to prevent substance and emotional abuse as well as programs regarding juvenile delinquency prevention services.  SB 256 now moves to the House for consideration.

The Senate also gave final approval this week to Senate Bill 366, which creates the Rebuild Damaged Infrastructure Program to provide funding for reconstruction following presidentially declared natural disasters in the state. The measure exempts nongovernmental agencies congressionally mandated to provide disaster relief services from transient guest taxes. Finally, Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, presented Senate Bill 96 to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee this week. SB 96 adds sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s existing non-discrimination laws.

“What many people don’t know about the state of Missouri – or a lot of places across this country – is that it is still completely legal to fire someone because they are gay,” Sen. Justus told the panel. “It is actually legal to fire someone in Missouri because they are perceived to be gay. The solution to this problem is the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act, and this bill simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our existing human rights statutes.”

There are only four weeks remaining in the First Regular Session of the 97th Missouri General Assembly, which will adjourn at 6:00 p.m. on May 17.


Below is a list of job fairs, recruitment events and business expos coming up during the month of April in the St. Louis area for anyone interested in employment opportunities. Please be aware that this schedule is subject to change at any time. You are encouraged to call the event organizer or contact person prior to attending.

April 23

IT Careers Meet & Greet Teleconference Event

State of Missouri Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) recruiting event for internships and full-time employment.

St. Louis Wainwright State Office Building

(111 N. 7th St., Room 923, St. Louis, MO)

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Deadline for registration for this event is April 12.

Please e-mail a copy of your résumé to it-careers@oa.mo.gov after registration and before the event.

For more information or to register, go to www.it-careers.mo.gov.

April 24

Jefferson College and Community Job Fair

Jefferson College, Student Center – Viking Room 

(1000 Viking Dr., Hillsboro, MO 63050)

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information, call (636) 797-3000  (x3215).

April 25

FBI Employment Information Session

(Special Agent and Professional Support Staff career opportunities)

Harris-Stowe State University Library

(3026 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103)

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (last Thursday of each month)

Note:  An FBI employee will discuss Special Agent and Professional Support Staff processing in general at this event.

Visit www.FBIjobs.gov to view information on job vacancy announcements as available.

Note: This event is for informational purposes only, NO hiring will take place. For more information, call (314) 589-2700.

Continuing Throughout the Month of April

Extra Help Recruitment Events (General Clerical Support, General Laborers)

Extra Help will NOT conduct onsite recruiting at Missouri Career Centers. 

Applicants may apply online at www.extrahelpinc.com for a variety of temp, temp-to-hire, and direct placement positions.  Employer will call applicants to schedule appointments.

The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) is a government agency in St. Louis that offers job seekers and businesses a variety of no-cost services related to employment, job training and career advancement.

SLATE is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request.

Please take a moment to review the following opportunities from SLATE. The first concerns businesses that would like to assist with on-the-job training, and the second is in regards to a meeting for individuals wishing to participate in on-the-job training scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

Senator Nasheed had the opportunity to visit with constituents during the legislative week. Each group was welcomed to the Capitol and had the chance to talk with the senator.

Students from the 5th Senatorial District visiting the Capitol were able to see the view from the Senate dais.

Gentlemen from the Father Support Center were in the building to testify on SB 347.